Brother Ambrose softly hefted the bag of newly ground rye over his shoulder muttering yet another prayer.
Everyone was at Matins, so he was safe. This would make many loaves of bread for the orphan children in the village.
In the seven years he’d been at the monastery, he’d stolen countless bushels of food. If the abbot, discovered his theft he’d be punished for a year, he was sure; but, aye, it would be worth it to see the foundlings eat.
His only justification was that somewhere out there one of those foundling children might be his own.
This is the first of what I hope will be a series of articles about life in the medieval years (or middle ages) typically designated as the years from 500 to 1500 AD. I like historical novels in general, but I have always been fascinated by these particular (and earlier) times. For many years, I’ve read books about Arthur, Merlin, Boudicca, Avalon, druids, the Roman conquest of Britain, royalty of the times, cathedral building, and more. Some of my favorite authors who have set their stories in this time period include Jack Whyte, Manda Scott, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Stewart, Bernard Cornwell, and Ken Follett.
Many novels set in these times contain a certain amount of fantasy because much of this era is yet unknown. For example, scholars still argue as to whether King Arthur was a real person, a persona perhaps based on one or more kings of the times, or completely mythical.
Personally, I read fiction for escape and entertainment, but I also want to learn something of history. Consequently, the novel I’m currently writing is set in these times and I have to do much research to make the novel as real as possible. I’m not a historian and, okay, I admit, on occasion I may “stretch the truth” a little to make the story mine, but I always strive to keep the setting and characters plausible.
Today’s topic may seem trivial but it’s important to ensuring your characters don’t go hungry.Read more